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Spatial attention across perception and action

33.536, Sunday, 18-May, 8:30 am - 12:30 pm, Pavilion
Session: Attention: Divided

Moran Israel1, Asher Cohen1; 1Department of Psychology, The Hebrew University of Jerusalem

Converging evidence in cognitive neuroscience has generated the notion that perception and action may share the same spatial representation, on the neuronal level as well as the cognitive level. The Simon effect (Simon, 1969) demonstrates this complex relationship between perception and action. According to this phenomenon, spatial relation between perception and action (stimuli and response) can affect performance even when the spatial information of the stimulus is irrelevant to the task. In our study subjects performed two tasks, either separately (the single task condition) or simultaneously (the dual task condition). In the first, shape task, two colored shapes were presented bilaterally. The subject's task was to name one of the shapes according to its color and ignore the other shape. In the second, tone task, subjects were required to respond manually with either a left or right button according to the pitch of a tone. The input for both tasks appeared simultaneously, and subjects were instructed to respond to both tasks as fast as possible, without prioritizing either of them. We found a sizable dual task cost when the two tasks were performed simultaneously, particularly for the shape task. Moreover an orthogonal compatibility effect was found between the side of the relevant shape and the side of the correct response in the tone task, for both tasks- a between tasks Simon-like effect. These results demonstrate a clear overlap between representations of space in perception and action, and indicate that both perception and action use the same spatial representations in the brain, even when the spatial information comes from two distinct tasks.

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